Friday, September 20, 2013

Another Sunni mosque targeted with a bombing

Violence continues in Iraq today with an attack on a mosque.  Xinhua reports, "The attack occurred when two improvised explosive devices hidden inside the air cooling system exploded in the Musab bin Omair Mosque near the city of Samarra, 120 km north of the capital Baghdad, as people were gathering in the mosque for noon prayers, a police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.Al Jazeera adds, "Samarra is a largely Sunni Muslim city that is home to a revered Shia shrine."  Ghazwan Hassan, Isabel Coles and Louise Ireland (Reuters) quote survivor Saleh al-Shamani, "During the Friday prayer suddenly a huge explosion took place. Black smoke filled the mosque, we could not see each other. I tried to stand, but I couldn't as I had some injuries in my legs."  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports 18 dead and twenty-nine injured.

Mahmud Saleh (AFP) offers this perspective, "The blasts came a day after the bodies of 10 young men who had been shot dead were found in Baghdad, another reminder of the sectarian conflict in Iraq, during which militants frequently carried out summary executions."  While true, a better context would be to drop back to last Friday.  This was a Sunni mosque that was attacked.

That also happened last week.  AFP reported then, "Two roadside bombs exploded outside a mosque in the Iraqi city of Baquba killing 30 people, as Sunni Muslim worshippers were leaving following Friday prayers, police said. A further 25 people were wounded in the blasts, which went off in quick succession. The second tore through a crowd of people who had rushed to help those hurt in the first.
It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack."

I really don't care for the Saleh article we've linked to but it's the only version in English I can find right now.  If you read French, Mahmud Saleh's report is much better here.  (In the English link, it's been condensed to just a few paragraphs.)

In the French version, Saleh also notes a Samarra mortar attack left 1 woman and her daughter dead and the woman's husband was left injured, while a second mortar attack claimed the life of another young female and left two members of her family injured and a Baghdad sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 doctor if police are believed (if medical sources are believed, the doctor was shot dead).  In addition, NINA reports a Baquba roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left two people injured, and 1 Iraqi soldier was kidnapped in Hawija.

Hopefully, Saleh's full report will be published in English.  Saleh's also noting the division in Iraq and quotes an unnamed official on it.  And he notes the targeting of Sunnis in Basra (15 shot dead so far this month).  On Basra, NINA reported yesterday:

A document bearing 133 signatures of tribal personalities and dignitaries in Basra called on Presidents, Government, Parliament, ministers and religious authorities intervene to put a stop to bloodshed against the people of Basra.
Signatories called for intervention to stop the killing and sectarian displacing of people by unknown elements.

IRIN looks at what Nouri and others are attempting to 'address' the violence.  Excerpt:

“So far, there appears to be little appetite by political leaders for the compromises necessary to halt the escalating violence,” ICG said in its monthly CrisisWatch. “Instead, the government has requested from the US additional weaponry and intelligence support in order to ‘combat terrorism’.” In August, the government arrested over 670 people, ICG said, as part of a new military operation called “Martyrs’ Revenge”.
The operation focused on large-scale arrests of suspected “terrorists” in predominantly Sunni Arab areas on the outskirts of the capital, Baghdad, as well as seizures of weapons. While the operation saw some successes, it - like the Kirkuk trench - also poses some risks.
“Any short-term improvements in terms of security could be outweighed in the long-term if the Sunni community feels it is being targeted by the government for a crime they have not committed,” said Hayder al Khoei, associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House in London.
Experts say the rise in violence in Kirkuk Province is linked to the growing strength, nationwide, of al-Qaeda and other extremist groups in recent months. Instability stemming from power-sharing disagreements makes Kirkuk an easy target for the groups.

In other news,  Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) reports:

A massacre this month at an Iranian exile camp in Iraq that killed 52 people under international protection was an act of premeditated slaughter and should be thoroughly investigated by the United Nations, two former foreign ministers told the world body Thursday.
Former foreign ministers Bernard Kouchner of France and Sid Ahmed Ghozali of Algeria told a U.N. panel in Geneva that the Sept. 1 raid on the exile refuge known as Camp Ashraf represents "a crime against humanity." The former top diplomats also said they had grave fear for the safety of seven survivors of the attack who were taken hostage.

The following community sites -- plus, Pacifica Evening News, Adam Kokesh and Cindy Sheehan and Tavis Smiley -- updated last night and this morning:

Plus Wally and Kat.  Wally's "THIS JUST IN! KERRY GOES BALLISTIC ON OBAMA!" went up minutes ago but is not showing up.  Kat's "Stay out of Syria" went up last night but one of the posts Blogger/Blogspot never managed to read in real time 'went up' after:

Barack, stop using my tax dollars to fund al Qaeda!
2 weeks ago

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